Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia is one of the most revered musicians of our times and an absolute colossus when it comes to playing the flute. He has been an inspiration for the generation of flautists who have learnt from his unique style. His achievements have brought international recognition to Hindustani classical music. Hariprasad Chaurasia is also a renowned music composer whose tunes have reached the masses through unforgettable songs. A winner of Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian honour, Hariprasad Chaurasia continues to amaze one and all with his artistry displayed with a simple bamboo flute. Pandit Chaurasia's Flutes Made of Tripura Bamboo.
On his 82nd birthday, we take a look at some facts about his life.
- Hariprasad Chaurasia was born on July 1, 1938, in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh. He did not belong to the family of musicians.
- As a kid growing up, he learnt stenography and wrestling to please his father but also learnt Hindustani classical music from noted vocalist Raja Ram.
- Hariprasad Chaurasia became a disciple of Bholanath, a famous flautist who went on to teach him the basics of the musical instrument for eight years.
- He started with composing music for the All India Radio in Cuttack, Orissa followed by a move to AIR Bombay.
- In Bombay, Annapurna Devi, the daughter of late Allaudin Khan taught him surbahar ( bass sitar). She taught him the Dhrupad style of music with heavy meends and gamak.
- He shares an extremely cordial relationship with his music partner – Pandit Shivkumar Sharma. They have formed a group called Shiv-Hari.
- Hariprasad Chaurasia has collaborated with international musical bands like The Beatles and also performed with musicians like John McLaughlin and Ken Lauber.
- He received his Padma Bhushan in 1992, Padma Vibhushan in 2000 and Sangeet Natak Academy award in 1984.
- He has set up two gurukuls – one each in Orrisa and Mumbai to impart musical knowledge to students. Underprivileged students live free of cost in these gurukuls.
Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia is a living legend who is not only respected for his achievements in the field of music but also for the great man he is.